Hacking Codecks #2

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March 14, 2017
Emmanuel is an old man, but don't remind him of that. He spent too many years as a project manager, for video games, web applications, and even hard-core industrial projects. The scars run deep. Most of his evenings and week-ends are devoted to video games, board games, and miniature painting. That's what happens when you get old.
Codecks LogoCodecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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Hacking Codecks is a series of articles dedicated to helping you discover ways that you can use the toolset we give you in sometimes obvious, but often surprising ways.

Codecks is by design completely agnostic when it comes to project management methodology.

Sure, it’s conspicuously well adapted to Scrum, given we have an effort property and a burndown chart. But that’s more the product of common sense, rather than following a specific practice.

Now, if you’re a fan of Kanban, there’s nothing out of the box that supports that. The question is: can we hack it? Why yes we can!

With tags, swimlanes and card drag’n drop, you have all the ingredients to create your own Kanban board, albeit with horizontal rows rather than columns.

Let’s see how this works.

We’ll illustrate with a standard development workflow, consisting of 6 steps: Backlog (work-to-be-done), Selected (what you’ll work on next), Develop-Ongoing (work has started), Develop-Done (waiting for deploy), Deploy and Live.

If you wanted everyone on the project to use Kanban, you’d be doing this with Project Tags. This has the added benefit that you would be able to use bulk edits.

But here I am going to assume that I’m the only person that likes to work that way, so instead I will use personal tags.

I also want to indicate the Work In Progress limit of each step as a true Kanban San.

The key ingredient for this hack is to develop a specific nomenclature for your tag. Here’s the one I chose: StepNoKanbanStep_WIPlimit.

Thus e.g. my second step would be 2KanbanSelected_2

Is it pretty? No. But this is hacking :)

Right, let’s go to our Personal Tag list (in project settings) and punch those in.

adding kanban tags

Once we’re done, we need to create the initial swimlanes by tagging a few cards. This is made easy with auto-complete.

auto-complete is your friend tags

Note that I could even skip this step and just start dragging cards, since the kanban tags will appear in the tag dropzone even if the swimlanes don’t yet appear :D

This is what the board will look like once you’ve slotted a few cards in the appropriate rows.


In all honesty, this is not ideal because once you start dragging cards, tags get added but not removed, so you will have to manually remove the old tags.

Which is one of the reasons why we’re going to implement drag’n drop using keyboard modifiers (e.g.shift) to automate removal of tags.

Before I disappear, here’s another simple and more obvious hack for implementing Kanban: just use decks!


Each deck is a step in your workflow. Since you can re-arrange decks in your library, you can easily order them in the right sequence. As an added advantage, you can immediatly see if your card count is above your WIP limit without even having to open a deck.

That’s it for today. Until next time <3

So, what is Codecks?

Codecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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